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Slovakia poised to join Eurozone

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- The first Central European state to adopt the euro, Slovakia, is poised to officially join the Eurozone Thursday, officials said.

Some officials called Slovakia's road to compliance with Eurozone directives as "bumpy," the EU Observer reported Tuesday.

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Slovakia's ambassador to the European Union, Maros Sefcovic, said the country -- which will be the poorest member of the Eurozone -- had to work "at least twice as hard" as other Eurozone states to convince member states it was ready to join.

Once a concern, Slovakia has managed to keep its inflation rate under the mandated threshold in spite of its high economic growth rate compared to other EU countries.

Slovakia, third largest automaker in central Europe, will now be challenged to manage its manufacturing sector, its banking system and its economy, said Daniel Gros, director of the Center for European Policy Studies.

"The Slovak economy should be flexible and dynamic, its budgetary policy sustainable and its labor market adjustments should take place smoothly -- if these conditions are met, all the benefits of the euro will be higher," said EU Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

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